Monday, October 06, 2014

How Did Someone Get My Email Password?

All your friends are saying you’ve been hacked because you emailed them malware.
In some circles I’m known best for my knowledge and experience with computer security. Occasionally I find a topic that is so important yet easy to understand I want to share it with friends and neighbors in Scotia. This is one of those topics.

Interested in hacking into the Email account of Charlie Sheen, Rob Lowe, Sean Penn or Carson Daly?  You’ll want to know they attended Santa Monica High School. Want access to the CEO of a large retail corporation?  Keep reading.


Simple question used by Yahoo to verify your identity.

Truth is we’re all screwed but having good password habits will keep out the amateurs. It may save you from emailing people on your contact list to say, “I’ve been hacked, if you received email from me don’t click on the link.”

My security expert friends will advise you to use…

1) Strong Passwords
2) Unique passwords for each of your password protected websites
3) Two-step verification


Important Advice to Share From BillP
My most important tip to family and friends is “Use fake information when asked for answers to security questions.”

Example of Fake Security Answer
Example of making up your own unique answers to security questions.

I had plenty of time this summer to research malware and identify the first step in the infection process.  The most common way to get hacked is someone using the small amount of public information needed too reset your email password. Once they have one of your email addresses it’s not hard to receive a new password on other services.

I recommend creating easy to remember jokes to use when asked for answers to security questions.  Some examples may be “What high school did you attend?” Pick something like Jefferson High School (Happy Days) or Rydell High(Grease). I won’t tell you what it is but people often laugh out loud when they see what I use for my mothers maiden name. Yes, some company’s still use it.


Target’s Easy Target

Using real data is dangerous. In less than 15 minutes I was able to find information about “former” Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel. His mother’s maiden name was Schreindl. He graduated from Homestead High School.
His first job was at Steinhafel's Furniture and he attends Wayzata Community Church. Born in Milwaukee, Steinhafel graduated from Carroll University in 1977 and earned an MBA from Northwestern University two years later. I could say more but for the safety of his wife and three children I’ll stop here.

When a high school kid gained access to Sarah Palin’s email he wasn’t a computer genius. He just looked up the answers to the security questions used by Yahoo. Even though that was way back in 2008 this method has continued to grow as the number one way to steal personal data.


I’ve also noticed a set of quizzes common on Facebook specifically designed to collect personal data used in security questions.  I am currently investigating the background of the companies who spread these quizzes. Most created their domain within the last 30 days. I will share any information in the future.

Some Security Advice May Be Outdated
Complicated passwords:
Some may recommend a complicated password like “hfY4df$dhEW_!cvrh3H7D&d.” It’s safer than 123456 but isn’t very easy to remember. A complicated password may be useful to beat programs which try every possible combination but most systems will lock you out after a handful of incorrect attempts.

Unique passwords:
Using different passwords on different services is good advice but unless you’re using a program that remembers your passwords it’s too easy to forget unique passwords. If you’re like me you’ll just end up resetting your password using security questions.

Two-Step Verification

The two step verification process is a step in the right direction For banking or any service where real harm could be done it’s worth the extra step. If someone gains access to your cell phone or one of your email accounts the benefit is lost. Unfortunately, you’re trusting that the company is not going to take advantage of having more of your personal data like your cell phone number or alternate email address.

Some Advice Will Never Change

As far as recent failures by Home Depot, Lowes and other large companies the advice hasn’t changed much in 20 years. When your bill comes, check all your charges and make sure they’re legitimate. Most likely you can access your credit card online and see charges as they come in. If you haven’t already, register an account connected to your credit card and review charges regularly.

Reviewing your bills doesn’t just apply to credit or bank cards. Keep an eye on any charges like your cable or phone bill. Legitimate companies have been known to add bogus charges. Verizon wireless added a monthly charge for ring tones on Cindi’s phone. They claimed she agreed to the monthly charge by not responding to a text message. They removed the charge when I explained her cell phone at the time didn’t support test messaging.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Sunnyside Road Bridge Construction & Detour

Leaving the Village of Scotia via Sunnyside Rd.

Starting on Tuesday, September 2nd the Glenville section of Sunnyside Road will be closed to all but local traffic accessible from Freemans Bridge Rd.  Just inside the Village of Scotia the Sunnyside Road Bridge will be resurfaced and closed to all traffic.

Unlike recent construction on the Western Gateway Bridge to Schenectady, both lanes of the Sunnyside Rd Bridge will be closed to traffic. The closest access to Freemans Bridge Rd and routes to Alpaus or Schenectady will be via Route 50 and Dutch Meadow Lane.

Indicated in green on the Google map below are roads which will be open and provide a replacement route.  In red is the east end of Sunnyside Road which will be closed to all but local traffic. No vehicles will be able to cross where the bridge currently brings traffic over the railroad tracks used by Amtrak.  No exceptions, including emergency vehicles.



The Sunnyside Road Bridge as it currently appears when entering the Village of Scotia.  If your GPS bring you here during September and October 2014 turn around!

The Sunnyside Road bridge has been around for many years and passed over a major train yard called “Sandbank Yard” which has been documented  by our friend and Scotia-Glenville alumni, Steve Myers with his photos and many provided by Ed Wittekind a Union College student in the 40’s.

Growing up in the 60’s I remember calling it “Switcher Bridge”.  We would pack a lunch, ride our string ray bikes down to the bridge and watch as the trains changed to different rails.

While I am not looking forward to the closure for two months, it closed for almost two years when I was in high school.  The bridge had deteriorated and for safety the bridge was closed around Thanksgiving 1971.  It remained closed until August 29th, 2971.


The Village had expected some help financing the replacement of the bridge but according to then Rep Samuel S Stratton, the U.S. Transportation Department approved funding but it was held up by the state.. Apparently New York State  Transportation department officials were uncertain as to the  future of the Sandbank yard or any train traffic.  The Penn Central Railroad closed their Sandbank yard in 1978. Currently, the main rail activity is from Amtrak passenger service.

I can’t imagine what really held things up for two years. While, they weren’t the same tracks, one of the first railroads in the United States was nearby and used horses to pull the train cars across the bridge connecting Scotia and Schenectady Washington’s Avenues.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Yard Sale on Sunnyside Road

Friday, August 8th and Saturday, August 9th there will be a large Yard Sale from 10AM to 3 PM at 32 Sunnyside Road. 

The sale is in preparation to down size and sell items we’ve accumulated at the 3+ acres  of Pytlovany  Point.  Additional items from friends & family will also be available.

NO EARLY BIRDS.   Anyone arriving before 10 AM will be asked to leave.  Street parking is available but we ask you not park on our neighbors lawn or driveways.

A variety of items will be available including books, DVDs, clothes, computer accessories including cables( USB, Firewire, Audio/Video, phone, Ethernet )


Games, toys, holiday decorations especially Halloween and Christmas. Craft supplies, garden supplies, pavers, animal cages, baby items and more.


Friday, June 20, 2014

Boil Water Advisory

Update June 21st, 2014

Boiling your water is no longer required.

A water main value break is being repaired or has been repaired near Mohawk Avenue(Rt 5) and Ballston Avenue(Rt 50).  This has caused possible contamination of the local water supply. The Schenectady County Department of Environmental Services has issued directions to boil water for a full minute and allow to cool before drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes, and preparing food.

The properties directly affected are:
#1 – #101 Mohawk Avenue (NYS Route 5) excluding #32 and #40;
#104, 106 and 108 North Ballston Ave (NYS Route 50);
#102 Glen Ave.;
#2 – #22 Schonowee Ave.;
#3, #5 Livingston Ave.;
#7 – #73 Washington Ave.

Even after being repaired the contaminated water must be flushed through the system so continue boiling until notified it’s safe.

Click for more info

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Memorial Day Remembrance 2014

Every year the Village of Scotia has a Memorial Day Parade on the Wednesday evening before Memorial Day. It’s a popular event with families arriving early to pick a good spot or to enjoy a chicken barbecue, another tradition of the Scotia Fire Department.

What many residents miss follows the parade and occurs next to the Scotia Library in Collins Park. Each year many organizations take this time to pay tribute at our own veterans memorial.

Scotia resident Kurt von Maucher picture here with Grand Marshal: Commander Vincent Perry, Jr. and Co-Honorary Grand Marshal: William A. Wragg, Jr.
Kurt has been organizer of our Memorial Parade and Remembrance more years than I can count. The event is now in the hands of John Eaton pictured on the right below.



A new participant of the 2014 Memorial Day Parade was the Federation & New York State Basketball Champions. Representing Scotia-Glenville Schools the boys varsity team generated a great deal of excitement and community-wide pride.

Excitement doesn’t come close to describing this Scotia-Glenville’s fan pleaser. The Scotia-GlenvillePerfectPitchPrecisionPepBand also made their first appearance at this years parade. This group of ambitious musicians doesn’t just rally fans at boys football or basketball games. You’ll find them at Baseball, Women's Basketball and any athletic and/or school event when enough band members are available. It wasn’t hard to find members wanting to march in honor of the men and women who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Community Garden at the Flint House

The following information from Mayor Kastberg is from the Village of Scotia’s announcements.

”The Village has developed a community garden located on the Flint House property at the end of South Reynolds Street. This garden is for Village residents only, and interested persons can apply at Village Hall. Applications are available either at the Clerk's Office at Village Hall or on the Village web site at A small fee is attached to each reservation according to plot size, a 4' x 4' plot is $15.00, an 8' x 8' plot is $25.00, and a 10' x 10' plot is $35.00. Plots are assigned on a first come, first served basis. applicants will receive garden rules and be contacted by the garden coordinator when planting can begin


Mayor Kris Kastberg
Village of Scotia

To sign up for the announcements see the option on the bottom of

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Volunteers Needed for Local Dog Park Plan

The Village newsletter announced a search for volunteers interested in serving on a new steering committee. The committee will help develop a plan for a proposed dog park. If this sounds like something you’d like to devote your time review the information below and Email your name, address, and a contact number to

Scotia Dog Park Steering Committee

Charge to the Committee:

Whereas the Village of Scotia is interested in establishing a Dog Park for use by its residents, the Board of Trustees establishes a five member steering committee to develop and implement a plan and procedure for the construction and operation of such a park. The specific charges to this committee are as follows:

  1. Produce a list of needs and requirements for the establishment of a viable dog park.
  2. Review possible locations for a dog park and develop a preference rating for those locations based on needs and requirements.
  3. Compile a set of rules and regulations for use and operation of the dog park.
  4. Develop a design and construction budget for the park at the preferred location.
  5. Identify and pursue sponsors and funding options for the construction cost of the park.

Timeline (Tentative):

    1. Needs and Requirements - 2 Months
    2. Location Review - 1 Month
    3. Rules and Regulations - 2 Months
    4. Design and Construction Budget - 3 Months
    5. Sponsors and Funding - 3 Months


Upon completion of the charges to the Dog Park Steering Committee, and depending upon funding availability, the Village would construct, own, and manage the dog park so long as it was viable.

Monday, December 09, 2013

STAR Tax Facts You Need to Know

In the past, most of us could sign up just once to receive tax relief from the New York State STAR program. Due to abuse by multiple property owners and failure to detect these abuses all New York property owners need to re-apply for the STAR program. 

Click Here to Register Online

You can also register by calling
(518) 457-2036

Click on document for larger view


Click for more information and for the forms you’ll need to apply.

Follow New York State news on our taxes on Twitter: @NYSTaxNews or Facebook

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Gingerbread Contest Gets Better Each Year

Christmas Around The WorldCreated by Emma Roylance & Juliann Vadney

If you enjoy making or admiring great Gingerbread creations we have good news.  The

17th Annual Holiday on the Avenue will again include the popular Gingerbread Contest. The theme this year is “Christmas Around The World.”


2012 Gingerbread Masterpieces




Thanks to everyone responsible for Village Special Events. Holiday on the Avenue provides a classic example of what makes the Village of Scotia such a popular community.

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Schenectady County Pedal-Paddle-Run 2013

The fun starts Saturday morning September 21st. in Collins Park when the first race  takes off at 8:30 AM. Races will end and begin in the park.

pprlogoClick logo for more info

Residents and visitors to the area should be aware of road closures along with intersections manned by police or volunteer flagman directing traffic to keep everyone safe.   Be patient and follow directions. If you do live on one of the affected streets come out and cheer on event participants.  Take photos and share them with your friends online.

Pedal-Paddle-Run on Facebook

The Scotia Police Department and the Glenville Police Department have issued the following streets closures/altered traffic patterns for the day (maps below):

Vley Road in both the Village of Scotia and the Town of Glenville will be CLOSED TO VEHICULAR TRAFFIC between 8:30am and approximately 10:30am. Traffic will be allowed to cross Vley Road at the discretion of police and/or flaggers.

Cuthbert Street in the Village of Scotia will be CLOSED TO VEHICULAR TRAFFIC between 8:30am and approximately 10:30am. Traffic will be diverted to Fifth Street, where vehicles will be allowed to cross Vley Road at the discretion police and/or flaggers.

Washington Avenue between Sunnyside Road and Schonowee Avenue will be open to LOCAL TRAFFIC ONLY between 8:30am and approximately 10:30am.

Schonowee Avenue (between Mohawk Avenue and Kiwanis Way) will be closed to traffic beginning at approximately 8:30am, and will re-open after the running portion of the race is over, at approximately 11:00am.


Approx 6.8 miles through the Village of Scotia and Town of Glenville.



5K Run (3.1 miles) in Collins Park and around Collins Lake


2 laps(approx 1.6 miles around Scotia Island in Collins Lake

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Mohawk Valley Antique & Flea Festival

Mark Your Calendars for September 21,2013!

Our friends at Aunt Katie’s Attic are continuing to attract vendors and customers to experience what Scotia-Glenville has to offer.  This year the  Mohawk Valley Antique & Flea Festival is expected to start the fall season off with a bang.

If you’re interested in being a vendor please contact us at the above phone or emails.

Vendor Space Rental Pricing is as follows:

10 by 10 pop up space $35

10 by 10 park and pop space (park your car in your space)
$50 (oversized vehicles and trailers extra)

10 by 10 set up under the pavilion $55

Spaces are selling quickly.

We have 11 acres to fill so spread the word!


Friday, June 28, 2013

Jumpin’ Jack’s Fireworks Postponed

The Annual Jumpin' Jack's Fireworks scheduled for tonight in the Village of Scotia has been postponed.

Not wanting to disappoint anyone they have rescheduled the popular event for Friday, July 12th.  Visit their website  and/or their Facebook page for more information.



Freedom Park will also be rescheduling its performance so keep an eye on the new Freedom Park web page for details.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Scotia-Glenville Community Safety Forum

* Note: Date Change due to icy weather

Join your friends and neighbors, February 4th, 2013 at the Scotia-Glenville Middle School cafeteria at 6 PM.

A forum will be held to discuss safety procedures and possible changes at the six Scotia-Glenville schools. Let the board know how they can make your schools and children as safe as possible without losing the welcoming atmosphere we currently enjoy.

Safety audits have already been conducted at each school building. The results of those audits will be presented and will be incorporated into future safety plans along with valuable feedback provided by the community. This is your opportunity to share your experiences and offer suggestions so they may be incorporated in future safety plans.

When: 6 PM., Monday, February 4th, 2013
Where: Scotia-Glenville Middle School cafeteria

The regular Board of Education meeting previously scheduled for Sacandaga School will follow at the Middle School, 10 Prestige Parkway

Friday, December 21, 2012

Scotia-Glenville Proactive in Student Confidence and Safety

Like many schools, Scotia-Glenville Central School District has done what they can to implement a proactive, common sense approach to recent events. On Sunday afternoon, administrators met on their own time to review safety measures making sure staff, parents and students all experienced a normal level of comfort in our schools.

"The tragedy in Connecticut is heart wrenching and has all of us thinking about school safety," said Superintendent Susan Swartz. "Keeping our children safe is my first priority....and the priority of our staff and all employees."

For those families without access to the district website the following letter has been sent home with all students.

On Windows use Ctrl  key and Plus sign to enlarge or Ctrl and Minus to shrink.


Parent resources:

Talking to Kids about School Violence,   NYU Child Study Center

Talking with Kids about News,   PBS Parents

Talking to Children about Violence   (PDF), National Association of School Psychologists

New York State School Safety Guide   (PDF)

Resources for Supporting Students and Staff Following the Newtown , CT Tragedy, State Education Department